Sobering Statistics for Sim Racing on Steam

A valuable resource to measure the popularity of virtually any modern video game released for home computers, Steam Charts can display up-to-the minute data regarding the active userbase of a given title at a moments notice. When it comes to several hardcore racing sims, the results are almost incomprehensible: Nobody is playing these games, even though the developers of these titles rely on Steam primarily to increase awareness of their product, which in theory should lead to a much larger amount of players. Newsflash, it clearly doesn’t. These numbers are not very good.

While some will say each of the five titles listed have a nomadic group of sim racers who’ve taken a secret oath never to launch the executable file while the Ethernet cable is plugged into their computer, Valve’s popular distribution platform is the biggest it’s ever been. Steam is no longer seen as an awkward attempt to copy the Xbox Live Marketplace, and most people have caved into installing the program on their PC whether they wanted to or not.

Steam

Launched in October of 2007, Race 07 still sees a regular group of dedicated players, with the 24 hour count surpassing both Stock Car Extreme, a modern upgrade of Race 07 that sells for the same amount, as well as Kylotonn’s WRC 5, a game that came out only a few months ago.

RaceRoom Racing Experience has the benefit of two free weekends over the summer, where the entire game was unlocked to anyone bored enough to download it, but even when given out completely free of charge, the game could not surpass the peak popularity of a game that was released in 2007, when Steam was in its infancy.

The purpose of ISI making the jump to Steam was to increase awareness of rFactor 2 and generate a much-needed boost in sales, as the title is notorious for a lack of overall activity. The aggressive push to make virtual motorsports fans aware of rFactor 2’s Steam arrival, as well as the rough transition for those who already own the sim and simply needed to redeem a code has warranted virtually no positive results.

Stock Car Extreme, an obscure racing sim that community members threw over $100,000 at in an effort to help Reiza Studios build more international content for the game (as well as build two new games, one of which will be a re-release of Stock Car Extreme), is still yet to surpass an all-time peak of 124 players in-game at once. To put how terrible these numbers are into perspective, WRC 5, a shovelware title developed by a team who’s claim to fame is a line of interactive Yoga games for the Xbox 360, is slightly more active.

As a whole, these numbers paint an absolutely grim picture for Sim Racing. There are more people currently roaming the aisles of your local Wal-Mart than there are people in the world playing rFactor 2 or Stock Car Extreme. This can’t be profitable for the developers involved.

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122 thoughts on “Sobering Statistics for Sim Racing on Steam

  1. Holy shit I’m actually pleasantly surprised at the amount of participation in rF2. Hopefully it stays that way through the weekend as I’d love to see what the rF2 pube racing scene is all about.

    Also, I’m surprised you didn’t add pCars or AC in there as kind of a baseline…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. To be fair to RF2 and GSCE, when you do a questionable quality launch on steam and also let players stick with the non-steam version, you’re gonna leave the bulk of players not using steam.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I still play GSCE exclusively through the non-Steam client because the Reiza Sync tool works very well. If I had rFactor 2 I probably wouldn’t have made the jump to Steam there either for similar reasons. Their own built in tool works just as well, and I’d rather not have an extra layer of DRM over an existing one if I can help it. The same goes for (different genre, but easy and similar example) DCS World. There is literally nothing gained from using DCS through Steam as it’s just another layer of DRM and only adds headaches.

      Most games with heavy modding, unless they integrate well with the Steam Workshop, have nothing to gain from being run through Steam.

      Steam statistics are only accurate for newer games or games that rely completely on Steam such as Assetto Corsa, Project CARS, or RaceRoom. Those games are more or less inseparable from the Steam client.

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  3. What would be interesting to add, is that actually there’s very little people playing racing games – no matter if simulation or arcade. f1 2015, f1 2013, grid 2, dirt 3 – all of them have 300 to 400 peak players per day, in retrospect, 300 for raceroom and 200 for rfactor 2 doesn’t look that bad.
    Assetto Corsa, Project Cars and Dirt Rally are the most popular racing games in steam at the moment – with around 1400 to 1600 peak players per day. I cant think of any arcade games that are more popular. There’s The Crew Wild Run, on average 600 per day, last 2 days peaking at 1700 because of an update I guess…
    There’s, certainly, ETS 2 with 15000 per day and Rocket League with 25000 per day, but these are certainly not racing games…

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    1. I guess ETS2 career experience of either driving around trucks or doing missions with them takes some time to arrive to destination traveling through cities, and I think it can really be an interesting game in terms of truck job simulation.

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      1. ETS2 is one of the most relaxing, enjoyable gaming experiences a person can have. If only the force feedback wasn’t like a wet noodle, it would be hands down my favorite driving game. Nothing like a racing game, it’s not really about pushing anything. Just settling in and enjoying the open road.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Many many users of rF2 simply will not migrate until their yearly online sub’s on the current non steam version has expired, because doing so means we have to pay again. Its only beneficial for lifetime members ATM.
    One thing to note is rF2 is not ISI’s main income revenue and they have no debt. I wanted to point that out to anyone who thinks those numbers show ISI in trouble in any way. Amazed to see race07 numbers, testament to the longevity of a fully functioning sim. Now what will be interesting is the same survey in 7 years time, you will still see rF2, with probably the same kind of numbers as race07, I guarantee AC will be totally forgotten.

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    1. Yeah unfortunately you will see the same old rFactor with ancient graphics in 7 years with 100 players online, while Assetto Corsa 2 will be topping the sim racing charts with few thousand players online.

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    2. In 7 years we might get AC 2,pCars 4 or a new sim game thats better while rf1 will be finally forgotten, rf2 will be next on the dinosaur list right after rf3 release with the same content as rf2..Isi will never license Ferrari,Lambos,BMW,Ruf,Prosche or have a proper GT3 car list..RF3 will have the same tracks n 3PA will finally release that Kunos rip Nords.

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    3. “One thing to note is rF2 is not ISI’s main income revenue and they have no debt.”
      “I guarantee AC will be totally forgotten.”

      You must have access to internal information and to a future telling lady.

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      1. ISI have stated those facts more than once on the public forum, they make their money by licencing the engine to pro simulators and race teams, and have no debt like most other devs. Yes I do also have access to internal forums but I am bound by a NDA.

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      2. no debt mean nothing..No wonder rf content will never have Ferrari etv, this so call realistic sim has so many fantasy n dinosaur historic tracks..rf3 mill metro v100..yah

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      3. Cock_pit\hexjr\metalsucks, you’ve spilt outta that cum filled mouth of yours more shit then comes out my arse on a sat morning,when you gonna give me ya “moms” number cause your daddy aint doing his job and ritalin can only do so much.

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  5. None will play those titles, because everyone is playing: Project CARS and Assetto Corsa. Look at the numbers isn’t that hard.. ironically who wrote this article, doesn’t even mention the biggest (most played) titles to compare with.. lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s because they’re trying to convince us simracing sucks.

      So there ya go, that’s their agenda. Not to shut down AC, PCars, or iRacing. It’s all about getting us to all realize simracing sucks right now and we’re all stupid for driving and should instead just read this stuff.

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  6. Would be interesiting to see the numbers for AC, PCars and, in particular, iRacing.
    I get the feeling that these games are the ones efectively ‘sucking the oxygen’ from the sims mentioned above.

    I said this yesterday in the last AC article, but having a better game doesn’t mean shit if no one is playing it.

    What can be done about it?

    Dunno; it would take a whole lotta work/time/money to kick iRacing off its perch, there’s a lot of vested interests there.

    I remember a previous article from James talking about suing iRacing for its ToS (or some shit along those lines); and saying that he wouldn’t want to beacuse of the negative impact on the sim racing community as a whole.
    But honestly, given all the PRC articles about how the landscape is ruined, it may need to be completely destroyed and built from the ground up again.

    I could just be spouting bullshit, although that seems to be par for the course in the comments here.

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  7. Reason why AC and Pcars has almost 10 times more players than rFactor is that they are aimed more for the casual gamers not sim racing enthusiasts.

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    1. marketing wise to your average joe they would see assetto corsa and rafctor 2 as the same thing, if they googled it they would see more positives about assetto corsa because it has more owners.

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    2. No. Assetto corsa is aimed at a wider audience. Big difference.
      Now for the real reason. Take a look at the rFactor 2 metacritic page. Only one review(!).
      Apparently ISI doesn’t even want to sell copies of their games. They should write a book on how to fuck up marketing. Now at Kunos they organised a trackday at Vallelunga. You can think of the game what you want, but they know how to sell it!

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      1. After their steam discount is over literally no one is going to buy the game, $90 price tag or alternatively yearly fee for online features will scare every intrested customer away.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. james you are missing the point, you get more sales via steam, doesnt matter about players, whoever enjoys it will play it.

    take it to another genre, visual novels(not talking about the edgy hentai ecchi bs that is the sakura series). Many VNs have massively exploded in sales from the move from mangamanger to steam, same can be said about rpgmaker and touhou games making the move from the dying desura to steam.

    Sales matter more at that drives the money

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    1. Some VNfags on Steam are known to be extremely whiny and stick to “uncensored or nothing” stance that results in they boycotting purchase from Steam… for lewd titles, at least.

      I guess you aren’t talking about that shit?

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      1. as always those that complain make more noise then those that dont, compare every steam game ever, how many steam threads are bad belittling a game vs someone saying i like this game. The people that like it are playing it, the people that are at odds with it are breathing rather heavily and ranting.

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  9. Assetto Corsa all time peak 6,954 players, rFactor 2 all time peak 313 players. Hahaaha rekt Assetto Corsa has probably higher all time peak than rFactors has players in total rekt

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  10. Two of the games also run non-steam versions.

    Also both of those game is often played offline, you need to be online on steam to be logged as well, many chooses not to.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I see rF2 player numbers from several sides (same for SCE) in that current non-lifetime members won’t likely migrate to Steam until their online subscription ends which partly accounts for the ownership numbers (6.5k since the Steam launch).

    That said, there are people who won’t buy games without the Steam safety net and these people were supposed to be lured by the 40% off sale.

    I don’t know if 6.5K is a great number for many Steam releases; perhaps it is okay for a racing simulation? Scary to see Raceroom, according to Steam Spy, is ‘owned’ by 2.1 million people, played by just 752K and recorded just 367 concurrent players over 24 hours…that’s a hell of a drop off. rF2 had 226 concurrent players with 6.5K owners..

    All of these stat sites rely on the openness of people’s Steam accounts so I wonder how accurate the numbers are irrespective of the website as many people have private accounts.

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  12. Average Joes are not intrested in game that has lackluster car list and outdated graphics. That’s why rFactor will never be popular.

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      1. Average Joe want to relax with the game for few hours every now and then without need to search half of the internet for low quality ripped mods.

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    1. Because they are the best ones.. in that exact order.
      It looks like that some users on this blog (starting from the owner) thinks that everyone out there is stupid… and their opinion about a game is the right one, but then they are denied by the facts.
      Hey haters: welcome to the real world! 🙂

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  13. I don’t even mind. As long as my singleplayer experience in games like SCE remains top notch, I’ll continue to be happy. I’ve already gotten my money’s worth and I bet there are quite a few others out there who feel the same about the games they’ve gotten, even AC and pCARS.

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  14. Average Joe doesn’t care which sim has slightly more accurate aero simulation or tire model. They care about things like presentation, nice graphics, car and track list.

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    1. As an average joe, I also don’t care about safety cars, endurance features (like pit stops, driver swaps, multiclass) or night-time. You take a graphically nice looking game and throw night-time on and it looks like shit because everything’s dark. And the other ones just don’t apply to the 5 lap sprint races I ever do.

      I’m not saying “keep them the hell outta my racing sim” but if it’s “game A has F40 and no pitstops” vs “game B has the Amberghini Pablo and pitstops” then yeah I like a Ferrari more.

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      1. Pretty sure no, Sev. People who just want to do sprint races or drive around in such cars, but still care about realistic simulation won’t go the driveclub/forza route. Especially if they don’t already own a console and aren’t used to console world, and also after having tried a sim, playing those other games with wheel may not be that interesting. But with a gamepad can still be a fun experience, depending the depth of the game, its career, and social/interaction aspect of the game.

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      2. Circuit racing is not the only type of driving there is. If I’m gonna do Top Gear style empty circuit shenanigans I want realistic physics. If I’m doing James Bond stunts I want realistic physics. Same reason they advertise doing them for real instead of using CGI – it’s just more satisfying when it’s real.

        That said, if an arcade game has a stand-out single player mode then yeah I’ll play it on gamepad. That doesn’t mean I don’t want devs making real sim titles though.

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    2. Who the fuck cares what joe or “average” ppl want, if it was left up to those wowsers the world would be a boring clinical place, designed for inbred idiots.

      Like

  15. In other news asso and hex are defending rFactor on steam forums like their own child and both got finally banned from Assetto Corsa steam subforum. ISI must be paying them or is someone really willing to do that for free?

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    1. Cool, so that’s why we haven’t seen a long time a major discussion in ac forums. But recently there’s a guy named MrPEPE (NYR) ヽ(´ー`)ノ who has the same blind bias, and makes the most ridiculous posts against AC, and the worst is I think he believes all he says.

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    2. Totally relevant?, meanwhile we have a little shit kicking troll, who is pure troll, Jamoz\pitcock\hex.jr\metalsucks\shillbabysill is im pretty sure the same stupid basement dwelleing yank meme posting little twat boy, yet none of you cock jockeys that have mentioned asso and hex, seem to mind that little cunt muffin, maybe because cunt muffin doesn’t highlight issues in AC?oh he cunt muffin goat boy doesn’t troll ac forums though, just love letters to kunos stating “they da best”.

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    3. Actually ISI/Tim Wheatley specifically requested that they stop and are considering banning from the rf2 forum also.

      ISI and Kunos are respectful of each other, actually.

      Like

  16. “Impressive” numbers, that shows the sad state of “hardcore sim” racing.

    In the meantime quick look on PDs server tells me there’s +230k “console peasants” enjoying GT6 online quick match events atm .Not counting those in user generated lobbies or those playing career/offline.

    Sim racing my ***

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    1. Yes, is all about the service you offer. Like Gaben used to say about Steam.
      If you want big numbers and active pool of users, you need to offer them that service and infrastructure. Not just say we have the best ultra physics, day night weather, etc.. because then you will only access the small niche.
      And multiplayer interface and interaction between people is also important. Games like dota2, csgo, can be very social. But their matchmaking and ranks are also a big incentive in continuous play from users.

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    2. In what hardcore sim genre do they get high numbers?just checked DCS, litrlally closest thing you will get to be in a military jet, every man has desires to fly jets and mustangs shooting peeps down to some degree right?surely you’d pick this title over say war thunder is 100 percent arcade game, or how about the great ww2 flight sim IL2 COD, lets have a look

      DCS 124h in 24h 400 peak ulitimate sim
      IL cliffs over dover 159 ultimate sim
      war thunder 12.000 24h 30000 peak, flashy arcade\console stuff

      I can repeat this many many times in sim numbers across genres,but most hardcore sims of various genres don’t make it on steam, IL and dcs 2 of the few, and i can assure you those communities are alive and kicking.

      Ive said this so many time now, why do you expect the vast majority of dull witted man boy gamers to play sims like these?

      Like

      1. DCS has been removed from Steam last year, they returned to their delivery system. They cannot remove the game from Steam, since there still people who didn’t migrated the keys back. So the Steam stats (about DCS) are completely wrong.

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      2. EUTS is a statistical anomaly and even the devs of that sim came out and said they had no idea why the popularity,its also worth nothing you could learn teh basics in EU2 within a few minutes. Get rekt? fucking man boy got, got anything else, maybe a meme or some ultra internet hipster thing like that.

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      3. Not about elitism, I don’t choose for these ppl to ignore cutting edge simulation in all genres, in exchange for some console inspired candy coated rubbish that’s been repeated last 10 years, although the more gaming matures the more you’ll see come over, however a quick look at latest e3 crowds I think be long while yet.

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      4. DCS has been removed from Steam last year.

        I own on steam and continue to buy modules on their as does the vast majority of my DCS buddys,so no they are still on steam, yes you are correct that numbers would be little higher with non steam, however funny you mention that cause same setup applies rf2, I havnt moved to steam, don’t see why, im perfectly capable of browsing net for mods, also again DCS not only example.

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  17. “This can’t be profitable for the developers involved.”
    It can, but only because racing sims are one of the most poverty genres in video games. At some point you’re forced to accept that these games are all half finished shit because there’s no money in the market for anything better, no matter what delusions people may have about virtual motorsport being as big as the real thing or whatever.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Not a shock, really. I’m sure the developers realize they’re making games in a very niche market. It’s also not a surprise more people play AC and PCARS, which have probably received more attention outside the sim racing domain. These lesser-known titles are never going to attract large audiences. To most people, these games would not be considered “fun” and the lack of development and polish in other areas of the games, besides the driving model, isn’t going to inspire anyone who isn’t a die-hard to pick up a sim for the first time. With that said, should developers of sim racing games, across the board, be doing a better job that might attract more users? Of course. There’s much room for improvement.

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    1. With comments like these, console folks will feel at home. But not even about console folks, pc gamers in general. Certain sim racing members should stay away.

      Like

  19. I would take those Race07 stats with a grain of salt. That peak number is from July of 2014, the stats only go back to 2012, and the game not only required Steam (at least the retail copy I purchased did) at launch but it came out a solid 5 years before Steamcharts began tracking usage.

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  20. When I was playing Gran Turismo 6 (which shows you how many are online if you go to Quick Match) there were usually 250,000+ concurrent players most nights.

    I’m not bringing up a console vs PC thing here but simply pointing out that racing games on console are super active compared to those Steam stats.

    Like

    1. doesnt change the fact that there will always be a low number of the hardcore, there are a lot of inexperienced racers on GT and forza, there are the elite and even aliens but i imagine that number of elites is similar to that of the sims on pc. also project cars is the closest thing to a sim on console so console sim racers(for whatever reason they cant pc game) would try that

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  21. Why are players/users being proud of high numbers? Are they buying a game because the high amount of users reflects a bit on themselves? I highly regret having bought pCars: my grandma can win races in pCars.
    I, as a sim racer, am looking for SIMULATION of driving and racing, and I’m not looking after the fake satisfaction of winning a race after having wrecked fellow competitors out of the race. Gentlemen racing, you know …

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  22. People argue that racing sims are niche area of gaming which only appeal to very small user base.

    Correct.

    But no one seems to grasp the true reason behind all this, and that is the absolute horrendous “design” philosophies behind the PC racing simulators. They have zero appeal to people who happen to like auto culture, auto racing AND gaming (believe it or not, that is a big chunk). These products have nothing to do with games. They are just (badly) simulated engineering environments that make absolutely sure that you have nothing that could be considered meaningful gaming experience.

    One simple proof is that none of the major companies have hired a proper game designer. Detailed simulation and realism are not in contradiction to a good game. In fact, that is something what majority of people would applaud for. But that is not how you sell anything, because that doesn’t mean anything. It is the actual game you try to sell, and the realism/simulation is the depth inside the game. ETS2 does not sell because it has air brake simulation, or because oncoming traffic knows how tho change between low and hi beam.

    And dont get started about how controller peripherals cost money and no one wants to buy them. Saitek has made a fucking custom controller for a god damn Farming Simulator 2015. And everybody wants that. FS2015 is a solid gaming product.

    Racing sim developers could pull their heads out of their asses and make a complete turnaround in their design philosophies without sacrificing a slightest shit in their engineering product.

    In 1992 Geoff Crammond made a Formula One game which had level of simulation and realism that broke all the standards. And it also had a good, solid game.

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    1. “Dumbing down is a deliberate oversimplification of the intellectual within education, literature, cinema, news, and culture. The term “dumbing down” originated in 1933 as movie-business slang, used by motion picture screenplay writers, meaning: “[to] revise so as to appeal to those of little education or intelligence”.[1] Dumbing-down varies according to subject matter along with the reasons for lowering the intellect of the subject or topic. It often involves diminishment of critical thought involving the undermining of intellectual standards within language and learning; thus trivializing cultural, artistic, and academic standards, as is the case of popular culture.”

      Like

  23. Wow I’m honored that you even made mention of me. Its MrPepe here.

    To be exact, the AC developers banned me for writing a review of their abysmal, rotten scam of a product. Needless to say the AC trolls and even the AC developer got upset, I recently learned that its customary practice of the AC company and community to go on “Witch Hunts” all the time, many others have suffered the same. A toxic developer and a toxic community for all to see, its quite sad really.

    I am actually tempted to drum up a class action lawsuit going after both the company and these sad individuals under the grounds of slander, defamation and the freedom of public expression but we’ll see. Already have a growing list of individuals all victimized the same way. At the very least, the game should be written off as a sim scandal. misleading advertising at its best.

    https://www.accc.gov.au/consumers/misleading-claims-advertising/false-or-misleading-claims

    https://www.accc.gov.au/publications/advertising-selling/advertising-and-selling-guide/avoid-misleading-or-deceptive-claims-or-conduct/misleading-or-deceptive-conduct

    RIP Kunods and burn in hell AC fanboys, I find your worthless existence absolutely hilarious. Your lives all revolve around a glorified sham of a ‘sim’ to the point where you feel your existence is threatened based on feedback from the real world.

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  24. Chill out Mr Pepe, I think the AC devs are watching and actively responding to this thread.

    I give Kunos a year or two at most before they go bankrupt. Let them go in peace, its the humane thing to do.

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  25. 1 year / 2 – That’s a bit generous don’t you think?

    Simply looking at Assetto Corsa’s product price history …… Its fallen 70-80% since its launch price, clearly they are desperate.

    Like

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